Know Before You Go — Top Tips for Coming to Kauai

Kupaa Kauai

Kauai provides lush beauty, lots of adventure, many delightful people, gorgeous beaches and amazing mountainous interiors. There are many wonderful things-to-do and places to go. Here are particulars about being a visitor at our home island.

What to Pack: Sports shoes and socks, flip-flops, known locally as “slippers” hat with a brim, sun shirt, bathing suit, shorts, a sundress or lightweight skirt and short sleeved top (for women), dress shorts and short-sleeved collared shirt (for men) pool cover-up (for walking around a resort), tank tops, and T-shirts, sunglasses, sunscreen, lightweight rain jacket, backpack, and a water bottle for outdoor adventure or poolside.

Local Customs: Politeness and smiling puts you on top of the heap. It is considered rude to be pushy, whether talking to a local employee or residents. Driving aggressively is also rude. If someone is driving slower than what the signs say, follow respectfully until there is substantial room for passing or a passing lane occurs.

Shoe Removal: It is respectful to take off your shoes (slippers or slide-in shoes work the best) before entering anyone’s home or in some accommodations. Not removing your foot wear is considered disrespectful or ignorant.

Community volunteer events: participating in community sponsored beach clean-ups, or if you want to do it on your own — bring lightweight work gloves and some extra plastic bags with you.

Language: Locals in Hawaii often speak pidgin among each other. Locals also use Hawaiian terms. Kauai’s residents appreciate your effort to try. Learn a few phrases here.

“Kapu” (Forbidden) Areas: Honor important heiau (ancient Hawaiian places of worship) by steering clear of sitting on heiau lava structures or rocks. Stay off of closed trails, private property and trails that are not “official.” In particular, it is dangerous to walk down to Wailua Falls, Opaekaa Falls, or Queens Bath in Princeville where you may have to be rescued. Avoid that expense. Find trails here.

Ocean Safety: Enjoy our stunning beaches, which also deserve your respect for the potential of on-coming waves; some can knock you down and drag you out to sea. It’s a rule of thumb to never turn your back on the ocean when approaching a shoreline. Stay off of rocks near the ocean. Select a life-guarded beach for swimming or surfing. Be safe. Check ocean conditions here.

Try Local Foods: Be adventurous. Try some of the onolicious (delicious) foods offered in restaurants, at food trucks or during a local event. Grocery stores also carry local foods at special counters. You may discover what local “broke-da-mouth” (really great eating) is and carry that with your take-home memories of Kauai.

E Komo Mai (Welome to) Kauai!

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